Fresh Strawberry Recipes

If you have a chance to pick your own strawberries, these fresh strawberry recipes will help you make the most of them.

| June/July 1994

  • 144 fresh strawberry recipes 2
    Our fresh strawberry recipes include this tempting plate of strawberry spinach salad.
  • 144 fresh strawberry recipes 1
    Assistant Editor Christine Cauchon dives into a strawberry shortcake.

  • 144 fresh strawberry recipes 2
  • 144 fresh strawberry recipes 1

There are a few poor souls on the planet who have never tasted a "real strawberry." I'm not referring to those chewy, pale-red impostors in the local grocery suffering from jetlag or a long truck ride originating in Southern California. I'm talking about a warm sunny day in late June. You're squatting down next to rows of crimson-red strawberries — sweet smelling and tender to the touch. Most of the picked berries make it into your basket, but once in a while you sneak an irresistibly sweet and juicy one to melt in your mouth as you continue your search for the ripest fruit.

I never knew that "real strawberries" existed until we began to make our annual trip to Michigan just to pick them. Our son was a preschooler back then and loved to go strawberry picking. It was an easy job for a little person because the strawberries were almost at eye level. Also the strawberry plants were pricker free for easy picking, and he could consume all that he desired. The owner of the farm would tease that he was going to weigh our son also on the way out, charging accordingly.

Now, no matter where we're living, we always plant a small strawberry patch next to the garden. It's a shame that the strawberry season is just a few short weeks in the Midwest, but that's where strawberry jam, frozen strawberries, and lots of easy to prepare fresh strawberry recipes come in.

Selecting Strawberries  

Strawberries are the most plentiful of berries, so in season they're reasonably priced. Out of season they're sometimes affordable but are often underripe and tasteless. There are about 70 varieties of commercially grown strawberries. I prefer the smaller red berry because of the texture and sweetness, although new varieties are now bred to be larger without sacrificing flavor. In season, try to buy locally picked berries (ask your produce manager) or visit a farm stand. While the berries are at their best, buy in bulk for freezing or making jam. If you are buying in bulk at a farm stand or a u-pick farm, take along a cooler and a few freezer packs for the trip home. Berries are highly perishable and can become overripe or spoiled if kept at warm temperatures after picking. When shopping, look for ripe but not mushy berries; the caps on the top should look fresh and green. Check inside the carton for moldy or unripe berries since many times the beautiful ones are only on the top.


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